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EU Commission: “respond to the challenges”. Moscovici, “commitment to an intelligent application of the Stability and Growth Pact”.

Pierre Moscovici

(Brussels) The recommendations presented today by the European Commission “give guidance to Member States to respond adequately to persisting and new economic and social challenges and to deliver on their shared key policy objectives”. In general, against the backdrop of a slowdown in global growth, the Commission insists on the importance of “structural reforms, prioritising those aimed at sustainable and inclusive growth”. Member States “should advance social convergence in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights”. Since the start of the “European semester” in 2011, Member States “have made at least some progress implementing more than two thirds of the country-specific recommendations issued to them. Most progress has been achieved in financial services and employment policies, whereas recommendations to broaden the tax base, in healthcare, and competition in services, show a particularly low implementation rate”.
As regards macroeconomic imbalances, “some Member States continue to record private and public debt at historically high levels, which reduces the room for manoeuvre to address negative shocks. Some other Member States see signs of possible overheating related to the dynamic house price growth and raising unit labour costs. All Member States require further measures to enhance productivity, boost investment, and promote potential growth”. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, said: “We reaffirm our commitment to an intelligent application of the Stability and Growth Pact. That means basing our decisions not on a mechanistic or legalistic application of the rules, but on whether they are good for growth, jobs and sound public finances”.

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